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Scientology fires legal salvoes at the Garcias, and Vance Woodward fires back

Luis_GarciaLots to catch up on today in the legal arena, with Scientology making several counterpunches in lawsuits around the country.

The Luis and Rocio Garcia federal fraud lawsuit regarding fundraising for Scientology’s “Super Power Building.” When we last checked in, the Garcias had won an important victory, surviving a challenge to the lawsuit over its “diversity jurisdiction” and the fact that this California couple had filed its lawsuit in a Tampa federal court. In order to get past a problem of jurisdiction, the Garcias dropped three defendants and were allowed to file an amended complaint.

Now, Scientology has answered that amended complaint with a new motion to dismiss the lawsuit, again over the question of diversity jurisdiction. The church is saying that the Garcias cut some corners in order to avoid the jurisdiction problem, and Judge James D. Whittemore should not have allowed it. The filing indicates that Scientology plans to appeal Whittemore’s ruling on the jurisdiction question. Well, of course they are.

Scientology also filed a two-page renewal to its motion to compel arbitration — essentially a document which says, come on, judge, hurry up and make your decision. We’re also anxious to find out how Whittemore is going to rule on this question: Scientology says he should dismiss the lawsuit and force the Garcias to take their dispute to Scientology’s internal arbitration system because this is a religious dispute. The Garcias deny that it’s a religious dispute, and refuse to have anything to do with an arbitration system they say is a sham.

Vance Woodward’s lawsuit in Los Angeles heats up. Two interesting developments in Vance’s suit to tell you about today. Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon has filed an objection to Judge Susan Bryant-Deason, saying that she is prejudiced to his client. This may be only a pro forma objection, like the ones we’ve seen recently in Laura DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit, also in L.A.


In a more entertaining vein, Vance has answered Scientology’s reply to his lawsuit, and he’s done it with style. As we assumed he would, Vance pounces on Scientology’s assertion that Woodward’s lawsuit should be forced into the church’s internal arbitration system because it is a religious dispute, not the stuff of civil court. Vance answers that this is a lawsuit about contracts and promises, not religion, and he does it forcefully, in lines like this, reacting to the way Scientology always lays it on thick about its religious nature…

“Scientology is a religion, complete with scientifically refuted beliefs coupled with claims to the contrary. Big deal. The Scientology enterprise is acting in bad faith, this very second, by asserting the existence of an internal arbitration procedure that does not in fact exist. The alleged arbitration procedure is a sham.”

It’s a fun read.

The NAFC certification lawsuit. Here comes a familiar strategy. Recently, the National Association of Forensic Counselors filed a whopper of a lawsuit — naming 82 defendants, including Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige — alleging that Scientology had conspired with its drug rehab network, Narconon, to misuse the NAFC’s logos and certifications in order to make Narconon seem more legitimate than it is. We’ve been interested in learning how Scientology is going to react to the suit, and we’re getting some early indications. Previously, we told you that a prominent Tulsa firm had taken on representing Scientology’s flagship rehab facility in Oklahoma, Narconon Arrowhead. But the NAFC lawsuit, though filed in federal court in Oklahoma, names defendants in several other states. Now, we’ve noticed that numerous defendants are filing “special appearances.” We’re familiar with that term from Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit — it indicates that a substantial number of defendants are going to challenge the Oklahoma lawsuit’s jurisdiction over them.

So far, we haven’t learned yet if David Miscavige is going to file a special appearance, as he did in Texas in the Rathbun lawsuit. Also, other defendants are asking for extra time to respond to the NAFC lawsuit, which they have been granted automatically. This one is going to be very interesting.

Ryan Hamilton’s Narconon lawsuits. In some of the 13 federal lawsuits Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton has filed against Scientology’s rehab facilities in California, Nevada, and Colorado, attorneys have filed for extensions to give them more time to answer. But we do now have an answer from Narconon in one of the lawsuits. It has a bit of a “bring it on” brashness to it, which we find entertaining. Give it a look.

Another appeal brief in Monique Rathbun’s lawsuit. While we await the decision from the Texas Third Court of Appeals regarding Monique Rathbun’s right to depose Scientology leader David Miscavige in a jurisdictional preliminary matter, Scientology is pressing ahead with its appeal of Comal County Judge Dib Waldrip’s denial of its anti-SLAPP motion. We’ve already posted appeal briefs from the Church of Scientology and also defendants Dave Lubow (a Scientology private eye) and Monty Drake (a Texas PI hired by the church). Another defendant — Steven Gregory Sloat, a really unusual character — has filed his own appeal brief, and we thought you might want to see it.


Int Base’s security chief Gary Morehead, part two

Part two of Jeffrey Augustine’s interview of Gary Morehead who, under the code name “Jackson,” was security chief of Scientology’s International Base east of Los Angeles.



Your proprietor on Above Top Secret Radio

Say what you will about conspiracy-minded, UFO-focused radio programs like Veritas and now Above Top Secret — they have a fascination for Scientology and allow your proprietor to blather on forever. Here’s the middle hour of a recent Saturday night show when the folks at ATS had us on for a fun segment about our favorite subject.



Posted by Tony Ortega on June 18, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47

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